mint chicken kabobs 1
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My friend and neighbour, Emily, has a single mint plant in front of her house that’s the size of a small shrubbery. She encourages me to grab handfuls of it if I’m ever walking by. Because she brought a few jars of beet preserves to me last week – pickled beets, beet relish and chutney – I pondered what I might make with mint that would go with the tangy beets, knowing she had the same plethora of mint and pickled beets at home too. And so I took a handful or two and whizzed it into a slurry with plain yogurt, the juice of a lemon (the zest would be great too), some ginger and spices; yogurt acts as a flavour carrier while tenderizing chicken – you can leave it in the fridge for a day to get to know each other, or freeze the lot – the marinade protects the chicken from freezer burn. Thread the chunks onto soaked bamboo skewers and theyContinue reading

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butter chicken naan pockets 4
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Butter chicken and naan are totally gaga for each other, don’t you think? It’s tough to have one without the other. And so I wrapped butter chicken in naan dough, then baked it into a sort of butter chicken calzone. With or without cheese, it’s one of our new favourite things to eat around here. I originally wrote this recipe for the April issue of Parents Canada – streamlining it for print with the use of bottled sauce. You could, of course, use any butter chicken recipe you like, or even use takeout. Once cold, it will easily spoon into the middle of a circle of dough without running amok; you can then top it with a wee mound of grated cheese and seal the pocket to bake into a gooey pocket – I want to give them a go on the grill, and see if the added char will make them even more reminiscent of the smokey flavour naan gets from a traditional tandooriContinue reading

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How pretty is this? It’s my niece’s birthday today. (Happy birthday Em! I luvs ya.) When she was off for spring break, she came over to help me cook and style food for a couple of days; we played Green Day and made Chicken Cacciatore. She wanted to help out, and so I printed off this recipe and set her to make it – all on her own. I tried to stay out of it and let her figure it out. I find it interesting to watch people – especially those who aren’t everyday cooks – navigate a recipe. She did a great job, and was a bit of a perfectionist, in fact, carefully placing single pieces of bacon in the hot pan, spacing them evenly, muttering under her breath when one piece folded over. She stood in wait over the pan, jumping at each spatter, turning each piece of bacon as it cooked. It was adorable. We’ve done a lot of baking together, andContinue reading

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Who else is prompted to clean their basement when freezing rain insists on falling on the second weekend in April? And who else, once downstairs rummaging through the growing pile of stuff that is the even scarier grown-up version of the monster in the basement, finds small appliances they didn’t even realize they had? I discovered that not only did we already own a humidifier – and I didn’t need to go drop $70 for a new one – we do, in fact, have a slow cooker smaller than the big oval 6 quart one I keep hauling out every time I want to cook something slowly. It’s like Christmas down there, I tell ya. (Likewise for the guys who pick up our recycling this week.)

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Buffalo wings
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I’ll be honest – I never really fancied myself the Buffalo wing type. (Capitalized because they are named for the city, not the animal.) Buffalo wings are hot wings, and I’ve never much been into hot (sun or spice) – I can’t relate to those people who buy hot sauce by the jug and glug it on their toast. Further, it’s never been the sort of thing I aspired to make at home. Wings are pub food – something you order by the basket and eat in a loud booth with beer (cider for me) and plenty of people and napkins. I always went for the sticky, sugary ones, being a wuss and all, but I’ve recently come to love Buffalo wings on the milder side, and learned why – because that classic Buffalo wing sauce you get at the pub is Frank’s Red Hot Sauce cut with… butter. It’s kind of my job to keep tabs on what people are into eating, and withContinue reading

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Sometimes I procrastinate. Shocking, I know. I’m doing it now. I should be writing a story about French cooking, and preparing for a foodstyling gig tomorrow, and I have overflowing shoeboxes of papers to file beside be, and instead I’m flipping through old New York Times articles and calling it research. But it has paid off, I think: I came across this old (13 years!) Mark Bittman story about roasting an entire chicken in 30 minutes. Without use of an 800-degree pizza oven. And the practical side of my brain convinces me that I really should make note of this now, lest I forget, or lose track of what it was that grabbed my attention in the first place, and never get the life-changing opportunity to learn how to almost flash-roast a chicken. Besides, I always love new ways to use a cast iron skillet. In the fall of 1999, Mark Bittman tipped us off to his little secret: kick-start your chicken by roasting itContinue reading

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Tom Ka Gai
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When I was pregnant, I didn’t have cravings – I had aversions. I envied those women who craved cheeseburgers and ice cream and got a free pass to eat them in stretchy pants at their leisure. For me, the smell – or even thought – of most food, and particularly meat, was nausea-inducing. I finally understood how those people who could go through a day and forget to eat felt. I didn’t want much of anything, except perhaps the occasional slurpee and sour things, like lemonade. A friend who had gone through the same sent a list of foods that weren’t as bad coming back up. Among the worst: roasted chicken and chicken soup. Totally not fair. One day while grocery shopping in Vancouver, a lady passed me with her cart, slumped over the bar, pulling apart and eating a deli chicken with her fingers. I had to run, not walk, to the loo.

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Butter chicken pizza 1
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This! It’s like butter chicken and chewy charred naan all in one bite. We’re in Windsor this weekend, Mike going to the Indy on Belle Isle and W and I catching up with relatives and visiting places I haven’t been to for far too long. We ate Windsor pizza last night – it’ll be Pat & Hank’s tonight, but the night before we left we had this butter chicken pizza to use up some roast chicken, tomatoes, cream and cheese before leaving town. I veered from the original recipe, not wanting to open more tomatoes (I had half a 28 oz can) but wanting to use the last of the salsa – it worked perfectly, adding some heat without using cayenne. You really could wing this, using leftover butter chicken (is there such a thing?) or your own recipe, then spread it on pizza dough and bake at high heat or grill with plenty of melty mozza.

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I have no exciting way to introduce you to this salad of sorts; suffice to say it has taken care of many lunches, and even a few dinners over the past few weeks. It’s the Ichiban salad of my childhood, glammed up with chunks of roasted chicken, and made extra toasty by popping crushed dry noodles in the toaster oven along with the sliced almonds. (Note: do not leave the toaster oven to go check your email. For real.) The resulting jumble is crunchy, sweet and sour, and makes a satisfying sum of its parts. Also: a ginormous bag of coleslaw mix (enough to last at least a week) costs $3, a packet of noodles about a quarter, and a handful of almonds aint much. You also get the health plusses of all that slaw, and the nuts, and a few peas if you want to add the dregs of the bowl of leftovers from the other night. (OK… honestly? I put them in thereContinue reading

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